Most parents want the best for their children academically. However, some children naturally require special services to reach their full potential. It’s even more difficult for children who are naturally intelligent and find things easier because parents are often blind to their need for special programs. But they need extra attention too. Many educational experts recommend gifted programs for this case.
But, what exactly is a gifted program? Does it come with many pros and cons? We’ll find out as we unravel detailed information about gifted programs and why it is best for gifted children.
What is a Gifted Program?
A gifted program is a unique learning process targeted at children with high IQs and special abilities. It simply provides enrichment for talented students. This program creates an educational environment that helps children with high intellectual abilities thrive. When utilized properly, it can meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of children with unique gifts.
This type of educational program dates back to the 1800s and involves acceleration programs and enrichment programs. In acceleration programs, gifted children are taught with the same curriculum as other children. However, they move through the scheme of things at a faster rate. However, in an enrichment program, the aim is to ensure that gifted children learn at the same rate as children in regular programs. So, to make this happen, they are introduced to deeper information in the same subject when they are through with the regular curriculum content.
Why Are Gifted Programs Needed?
There is a lot that gifted programs can do for talented children. However, all these things simply focus on helping gifted children live up to their potential. Although this does not always work out, one trusted way to help gifted children live up to their potential is to enroll them in a gifted program. Therefore, it’s safe to say that gifted programs are needed to help guide the learning process of gifted children. It pairs such children with other children that are almost at the same levels as them so that learning can be uniform and practical.
Additionally, gifted programs are needed to help children understand that their gift is not enough reason to be lazy. It helps them understand the need to continue powering on with studies.
How to Get Your Child into the Gifted Program?
Thanks to the recent popularization of gifted programs and the attention it is receiving, many people now know what a gifted program is. However, not many people are sure of how to get a gifted child into a gifted program.
Well, if you know the exact things to do, getting a child into a gifted program shouldn’t be an uphill task.
The first step to consider when trying to enroll a child into a gifted program will be to confirm that such a child is indeed gifted. However you choose to look at it, the truth remains that it can be pretty confusing to understand whether a child is gifted or not, and many people flop in it. Some folks consider high-achieving students as being talented. As much as high-achieving students are sometimes gifted, it shouldn’t be the primary criteria to use. So, being a high achiever doesn’t necessarily mean that your child is gifted, and it’ll be a mistake to conclude.
While it is normal for parents to assume a child is gifted if such a child exhibits a form of talent, it is not up to parents to decide if their child is gifted or not. The child’s school is in the correct position to determine if the child is gifted or not.
There are various ways through which schools determine if a child is gifted. Many schools begin looking out for exceptional talents in children when they are just in their second grade.
To confirm if a child is gifted, many American schools opt for organizing IQ tests. The IQ tests will help you see beyond your children’s intelligent reputation. Instead of relying on grades, these IQ tests focus on showing a student’s level of brain development. For many educators, it’s easy to note. We’ve also seen schools make use of the STAR test and similar end-of-year state tests.
Furthermore, to ensure that no mistakes are made in this delicate process, schools could also combine observations from teachers, grades, and test scores to discover how gifted a child is. As soon as this is found, the school automatically pushes such students into the available gifted program.
These schools realize how risky any delay can be to a child. You don’t want your child’s developmental process disrupted in any way. Therefore, it is essential to understand your kid’s gifts on time and think about the best ways to remain at their best. One of such risks of acting late is the possibility of laziness. Gifted children may soon find out that they don’t need significant efforts to ace tests and exams. The resulting laziness can make them lose focus. Let’s also mention that the process is not as complicated as most people think. It would help if you communicated with your kid’s school counselor to know what’s best for them. You can also enroll the child in an enrichment class after regular school work.
What are the Benefits of Gifted Programs?
Gifted programs come with several benefits. Some are obvious; others are not so obvious. Before enrolling a child in a gifted program, you must know what you’re going into and how exactly it’ll benefit them.
That being said, below are some of the benefits of gifted programs.
Gifted programs help gifted children develop the right work ethics
Gifted children are rarely challenged by what is offered in classrooms designed for their age grade. Although they might get the right results, they often lack the motivation to put in any effort, making them lazy.
When enrolled in a gifted program, talented children are exposed to fresh challenges, which instills the discipline to pursue new heights. Unfortunately, their perceived intellectual superiority in traditional schools will make them less interested in pursuing new challenges.
It helps gifted children stay engaged
The tendency for gifted children to get bored in the classroom is very high. The reason for this is quite apparent. They do not have to make an effort to thrive. While this can be interpreted as them being high-achievers. Sometimes, they are more than just high achievers.
When gifted children are in the classroom with their peers, there is a likelihood that they do not have to spend as much time listening in class as they already know what they will be taught.
Sometimes, this could even be to the detriment of other people in their class. In situations like this, they could lose interest in what is being taught in class and shift their attention to other things. If this is left unchecked, they could lose interest in schooling totally as they already know what is being taught. In extreme cases, they could end up being dropouts.
To a large extent, gifted children cannot relate closely with children with less advanced intellectual capabilities. This is because their academic interests are not the same as those of the average child their age. This situation could make them socially awkward.
However, the fact that a gifted child appears awkward does not mean that they are. Sometimes, they just have not found people that have the same intellectual interests as them. This can be remedied when they spend time with other gifted children in the same learning environment.
What are the Pros and Cons of Gifted Programs?
Gifted programs can go a long way in improving the lives of gifted children. However, there are disadvantages to it too. A parent must find the right balance between these advantages and disadvantages to know where their children fit.
Below are some of the pros and cons of gifted programs
It Offers the Much-Needed Academic Challenge
Gifted children rarely get challenged by regular academic programs. As much as this means they do not get stressed, it might also keep them from living up to their potential.
When gifted children take part in gifted programs, they often meet kids that are just as intelligent as they are and sometimes even more intelligent. This situation serves as a push for them to perform at the optimum.
It helps in Boosting the Self-Esteem of Talented Children
Being super-intelligent is considered great. However, it is not always good when brilliant children spend time with those who are not as intelligent. Sometimes, children who stand out because of their intelligence level are bullied, which could make them lose confidence in themselves and wish they were never so intelligent.
The adverse effects of being an intelligent child can be remedied when very intelligent children spend time with other equally smart kids.
Gifted Programs Make Children Engaged with their Academics
It is almost common knowledge that gifted children struggle to focus in regular classrooms as they put little to no effort into getting things done. Since they do not have to concentrate in class, they sometimes get busy with other activities while class is on. This issue is easily fixed when children with special talents are taught with a special program.
Programs designed for gifted children are a lot more complicated than regular programs. This way, gifted children can be kept on their toes throughout the class.
Gifted Programs Could Make Children Deal with Unrealistic Expectations
As soon as a child is certified to be gifted and gets enrolled in a gifted program, parents’ expectations could increase significantly. While this could be to the child’s advantage, it is not always so. It could be detrimental.
Gifted children still struggle sometimes. However, lots of people do not expect them to struggle. So, they might not get any sympathy when they struggle and might end up being pushed too hard.
The fact that a child is gifted in a particular area does not always mean that they are gifted in another area. Many people do not realize this and so expect gifted children to be excellent in all areas. This expectation is usually unrealistic.
Gifted Programs sometimes Affect Children’s Confidence
When children are certified as being gifted, sometimes, they interpret this to mean they will never struggle. So, when they find themselves struggling at anything, it could affect their confidence level and make them avoid tasks that they struggle in.
A Lot of Funding is Needed to Make Gifted Programs Effective
This is perhaps the most apparent disadvantage of gifted programs. Gifted programs are designed to bring out the best from talented children. However, these programs need sufficient funding to offer the perfect dose of education to students. Unfortunately, many average parents find the cost of gifted programs too expensive to handle.
Wrapping Things Up: Pros and Cons of Gifted Programs
One common mistake we often see people make is assuming that intelligent children can handle everything by themselves. Well, while intelligent children are generally able to do several things intelligently, they’ll still encounter areas of difficulty. It’s your duty as a parent or guardian to help them balance their areas of strongholds with their areas of weaknesses. Of course, this can seem like a lot of work for untrained parents, and that’s why gifted programs exist. Throughout this article, we’ve discussed so much about all the information you need to know about gifted programs. We’ve also emphasized the pros and cons to help you understand everything to expect beforehand.